In the following weeks I’ll be posting a variety of TOOLS you can use in your time with the Lord. Some are original with me, some are not (I’ll try to note where it comes from in that case). I trust these will be helpful to you in your spiritual growth!
TOOL #1 – THE S.O.A.P. METHOD
This method is a “daily devotional” type study method that takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes per day, depending on the scripture passage you are using. As far as I know, this method was first devised by Pastor Wayne Cordiero of New Hope Fellowship on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
- You can have a meaningful time in the scriptures in a relatively short amount of time.
- It teaches you how to approach the scriptures wisely.
- It helps you develop the habit of daily time in the scriptures without being overwhelming.
TOOLS YOU’LL NEED
- Trustworthy Bible translation (ESV, NIV, NASB, NKJV, KJV, RSV)
- A notebook or journal
- A scripture reading plan that covers no more than 1 chapter of the scriptures daily. You can use a ready-made plan, or make up your own. You could even begin at the beginning of any Bible book and work through a chapter or less each day, depending on what fits your need.
HOW TO DO IT
- Each day’s time in the scriptures will include 4 sections of focus, listed below…(S.O.A.P.)
Scripture – Read the scripture you have chosen for the day. Reading the passage multiple times will be helpful. Make sure you take the time to understand what is being said, who is saying it, and why they are saying it. In your notebook, hand write the part of the scripture that stands out to you.
Observation – Ask the Lord to teach you through this passage. What do you think he is saying to you through what you’ve read? Paraphrase and write down what you think He is telling you.
Application – Write out how the passage applies to your life. Are there attitudes or actions you need to change in light of what you’ve read? Are there conflicts you need to resolve, promises you need to receive, encouragement you need to hear?
Prayer – Ask the Lord to apply the truths of the passage to your heart. Ask Him for the strength you need to apply what you have learned with honesty.
The S.O.A.P method is a great starter plan, something to get you going in a way that is not too cumbersome or difficult. The only additional suggestion I’d make is that you write down the most meaningful part of the scripture for each day in a way you can take with you to review throughout the day (not card, index card, etc.)